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Press

The ethics of gathering good visual stories

Those of us who work in communications know that stories—especially stories about individuals—can be extremely effective tools to build support for social impact. And photos and video help audiences connect emotionally with individuals featured in good stories. There are plenty of online guides for effective storytelling and using strong visuals. But…

Is it fair to call “brand journalism” journalism?

How much does a source matter? Do we care if we get our daily dose of Internet memes and animals pictures from the Post or Purina? The clicks say no. A cover story in a past issue of the Columbia Journalism Review (CJR) delves into the modern and mysterious beast…

Highlights from ComNet15: Comedy, Power, and Resonance

The Communications Network’s annual conference in San Diego was a sunny affair complete with a beach party kick-off and sunglasses in the swag bag. The theme was “Making Ideas Move” and most of the events centered on how to get people to listen and act. (Pictured: Journalist Jonathan Capehart interviews…

Some of my best friends are stock photos

It seems to never end. We keep seeing coverage about stock photos coming back to haunt folks. Just today, news that Donald Trump may have hired actors to pose as supporters at his candidacy announcement surfaced. While some say that there is no such thing as bad press, these stories…

Hacking and password security

Another day, another data breach. We have been inured to the news of corporations being hacked and our data being spilled out into the black market: Target, Home Depot, Anthem, Primera, American Express, Chase, Twitter… These represent large scale, sophisticated hacks, in most cases, targeting personal and financial information. But…

Media blind spots have consequences

Last month, journalism lost one of its great champions for inclusive reporting, Oakland’s own Dori Maynard. Maynard was a voice for making the media more representative, particularly of communities of color. Despite her impressive accomplishments, her work remains unfinished. Maynard once said: “Sometimes, I think two of my greatest loves…

A sneak peek at 2015’s big environment news

Think no one’s paying attention to the big environmental issues of the day? Think again. Last month, an overflow crowd attended an event at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington DC to hear journalists like the Wall Street Journal’s Amy Harder, Bloomberg’s Larry Pearl, and Randy Loftis of the Dallas…

Be prepared – it’s not just a Scout motto

Unless you’ve been living under a proverbial rock, you heard about Toledo’s drinking water crisis, when an algae outbreak right over the city's municipal water intake in Lake Erie led to dangerous levels of toxic microcystins. For two days in early August, Toledo residents were forced to scrounge and pay…

The first rule of talking about nitrogen…

Who cares about nitrogen pollution? Chances are, you do. You just don’t know it yet. Nitrogen as an element is absolutely necessary to life, but as with so many essentials, you can have too much of a good thing. Excess nitrogen – from tailpipes, smokestacks and most seriously from manures…

Toxic algae crisis isn’t over for Lake Erie or the nation

Toledo drinking water ban should be a warning to other cities After a weekend of scrambling to find bottled water for drinking, cooking and other household uses, residents of northwestern Ohio and southwestern Michigan were told Monday that their tapwater is again safe to drink. But for how long? Toxic…